* South Korean shares rose 1% on Friday, buoyed by Wall Street’s overnight gains and China’s better-than-expected manufacturing data, ending the quarter with its best performance in over two years.
* The Korean won weakened, while the benchmark bond yield rose.
* The benchmark KOSPI ended up 23.70 points, or 0.97%, at 2,476.86, hitting the highest level since February 9.
* The KOSPI ended the week 2.56% higher, the month 2.65% higher, and the quarter 10.75% higher. It was the best quarterly performance since the last quarter of 2020.
* China’s manufacturing activity expanded at a slower pace in March, official data showed on Friday, which still beat expectations. The services sector expanded at the fastest pace in nearly 12 years.
* “The data added to hopes for an economic recovery in China and provided support to the local stock market as well,” said analyst Lee Kyoung-min at Daishin Securities.
* Technology giant Samsung Electronics rose 1.27%, but peer SK Hynix lost 0.23% and battery maker LG Energy Solution fell 0.68%.
* Hyundai Motor gained 1.82% and sister automaker Kia Corp jumped 2.02%, while steelmaker POSCO Holdings rallied 8.39% on hopes for benefits from the US Inflation Reduction Act.
* Korea Electric Power Corp dropped 4.66% after the government postponed its decision on new electricity prices for the second quarter.
* Of the total 937 issues traded, 482 shares rose.
* Foreigners were net buyers of shares worth 513.6 billion won (USD 394.83 million), scooped up 6.86 trillion won worth of local stocks in the first quarter – the biggest in 9-1/2 years.
* The won ended onshore trade at 1,301.9 per dollar, 0.22% lower than its previous close at 1,299.0.
* The currency ended the week down 0.58%, but rose 1.59% for the month. For the quarter, it lost 2.87%.
* The most liquid three-year Korean treasury bond yield rose by 2.4 basis points to 3.264%, while the benchmark 10-year yield rose by 2.7 basis points to 3.330%.
(Reporting by Jihoon Lee; Editing by Nivedita Bhattacharjee)